Higher Education Op-Ed 2019

Wanted to take a few minutes at the start of 2019 to share a few opinion editorials (Op-Ed) that relate to Higher Education (Colleges & Universities) in the US.  The motivation comes from an article I just finished reading:

There is no true student-loan crisisgraduation_pic2

The crisis is that too few college students graduate so they cannot afford to repay their loans

by Chris Howard

There are somethings I really like about this Op-Ed and some things I disagree with… BUT in general I am of the opinion that knowledge / education should be freely available to everyone at anytime and we should be doing everything possible to make global, decentralized, borderless, freely available information available so that anyone can obtain the knowledge they want at anytime, without censorship and completely open access.    This is one of the driving reasons for creating the biopchem.education website.

I have really struggled with the best and most useful methodologies to provide quality information and educational material using resources that really help students master the a discipline, field or subject area.   What technologies, teaching methodologies and tools are really useful to help students acquire conceptual and practical skill mastery in STEM based fields?

the-new-educationI have been reading a lot of books, listening to a lot of books (I really love audible.com), watching a lot of videos, attending academic lectures and conferences, and reading some of the most recent pedagogical research (journal articles) to really help me in learning from others as to what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to STEM based education.   One resource that probably made one of the biggest impressions on me was Cathy N. Davidson’s book entitled ‘The New Education’, which has a bunch of discussion about ASU and ‘The New American University’, which is the vision of ASU’s president, Prof. Michael Crow.

Student-Centered Learning, Peer Learning and opening up more and more media and technologies to help learn and master the complex and abstract concepts often involved in STEM-based fields is what resonates.  I also want to push for

  1. MORE visualization of mathematics and the molecular level!! Pictures really do replace 1000+ words, AND animated videos, animated ‘plot’, & complex and interactive visualization do even more!!
  2. Monologues can almost always be replaced with Dialogues or Group Discussions to make replace the standard lecture-based methods of the past.
  3. Learning is an ACTIVE, not passive, process.  This principle needs to more directly guide us when creating new educational material and content.

What do you think??  This is a blog post that I am really hoping will inspire some really commentary and discussion in the comment section!!


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